Winning At Any Cost?

Like many of you, after hearing about the Chicago Little League Baseball team that was stripped of the U.S. Championship, I was upset that adults would knowingly break the rules when kids were involved.  I could go on and on about my feelings but I won’t!  What I will do is encourage you to continue to find positive examples of athletes and share those with your students.  The message should always be about doing what is right, not about winning and losing.  I did a Google search and found so many positive stories that provide great examples of athletes who didn’t need to win at any cost.  Here is a summary of just a few, check them out for more details and share them with your students!

At a state high school cross country meet in Minnesota, a ninth grader fell from exhaustion 50 meters short of the finish line.  Two runners from other schools stopped and picked her up and helped her finish the race.  All three were disqualified because of a league rule prohibiting runners from assisting other runners.  However, the Governor honored the three for their display of sportsmanship.

At the Boston Marathon this year, four runners all stopped to help a fallen marathoner get to the finish line.  One of the people who helped said it wasn’t easy but the crowd was “going nuts” and they knew they were going to help him finish the race.  The runner who they helped crossed the finish line on his own before collapsing.  It was an emotional finish for everyone who witnessed it.

Last December, a college basketball team received permission from the NCAA to move their first game of the year up two weeks so one of their players who has an inoperable brain tumor could play.  She scored the first basket of the game and was applauded by players and fans from both teams.  Since then she has appeared in two more games despite being under hospice care.  Her team cares more about her than winning the game.

Another great story happened last December when a Spanish runner showed the world that sometimes, winning isn’t everything.  Another runner who was ahead mistakenly thought he had crossed the finish line but was about 10 meters short.  He stopped running and even though people were telling him to keep going, he didn’t understand Spanish and didn’t realize what had happened.  The Spanish runner could have passed him and won the gold medal but he slowed down and guided the Kenyan runner to the actual finish line.  The Spanish runner said “I didn’t deserve to win it.  I did what I had to do.  He was the rightful winner.”


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